Deontay Wilder: Will team reconsider going to Russia after Browne debacle?
This seems a bit shady.
Newly-crowned WBA heavyweight champion Lucas Browne, following his knockout win over Ruslan Chagaev in Russia on March 5, has tested positive for Clenbuterol, a banned substance.
Fighters have tested positive before. No shock there.
... But it was Browne's team that requested advanced drug testing be administered by VADA.
Why would a fighter attempt to cheat after lobbying for, and receiving, sophisticated drug testing?
"My team and I were well aware of the many risks involved in going to a place like Chechnya to fight a reigning champion and believed we had taken sufficient precautions," Browne said afterwards.
Russia doesn't exctly have the best reputation for 'keeping it clean.'
Last year, Russia's national athletics federation was suspended from competition in the 2016 Olympics after being accused of running a state-sponsored doping programme. An shocking independent report drafted by the World Anti-Doping Agency exposed the Russians, with evidence of a Moscow testing laboratory that even altered or destroyed samples.
"This has been a shameful wake-up call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated," said IAAF president Sebastian Coe soon after the decision was made to keep Russia out of the Olympics.
One thing is clear: The Russians seem to be pros in the area of PEDs.
Enter WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Wilder recently made a verbal agreement to fight mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in Russia in May or June, accepting a $4 million guaranteed purse in the process.
Will Team Wilder change its mind following the Browne debacle? Perhaps Deontay will accept a lower purse to have the fight moved to Germany?
But regardless of where the bout takes place, it would be in the best interest of Team Wilder to be extra careful. Even in America, crafty individuals with experience can find probably ways to get PEDs in someone's system without them knowing it.
In facing Povetkin, Wilder may also be facing today's version of the KGB.
In 2013, then heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko defeated Alexander Povetkin in Moscow but there was some debate and confusion about drug testing before the fight was signed.
Neither fighter tested positive but it's still unclear how and what tests were implemented.